Read: Isaiah 65:17 ; 2 Peter 3:13 |
This is the fourth posting in a series about Heaven. The prior postings were intended to provide a common foundation for the discussion in this posting. To get the most out of the material, read the other posting first.
- Preview of Heaven (link)
- Purpose of Heaven (link)
- Heavenly Insights – Profile – Pre and Post Resurrection Heaven (link)
We often make plans and backup plans to our original plan. We sometimes label our best plan as “Plan A” and our next best as “Plan B”. We never intend to use the alternate plans, but knowing how “things happen” we hold them in reserve. Each alternative plan could become necessary because some basic assumption may be found invalid or some requirement unattainable. We may need to abandon Plan A realizing that the best possible outcome has become impossible.
God’s original plan when he created the earth was to live with us in the Garden of Eden. Due to Adam and Eve’s original sin, mankind was no longer innocent and thus could not live in direct communion with God. Plan A, to anyone except God, would have been scratched and never revisited. However, God being omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent decided to send His only Son Jesus to die for our sins. By so doing, Plan A was re-activated, re-enabled and revived. (see Table below)
Table – Three Eras of Mankind and Earth for Plan A
Garden of Eden
Genesis 3 – Revelation 20
|Original Earth||Fallen Earth, with glimmers of original||New (resurrected) Earth|
|Creation and mankind perfect||Creation and mankind tainted by sin||Creation and mankind restored to perfection|
|Tree of life in Eden
(mankind can eat)
|Tree of life in Paradise
(mankind cut off from)
|Tree of life in New Jerusalem
(mankind can eat again, forever)
|God in Heaven,
|God in Heaven,
Separate yet active (indwells believers by His Spirit)
|God living forever with mankind on the New Earth|
judged but still present on Earth
removed from Earth, thrown into eternal fire
|Mankind able either to sin or not to sin||Mankind enslaved to sin,
Empowered not to sin
|Mankind unable to sin,
|God’s plan for mankind and Earth revealed||God’s plan delayed and enriched||God’s plan for mankind and Earth realized|
Source: “Heaven”, by Randy Alcorn, Chapter 8. Excerpts of the table “Three Eras of Mankind and Earth”
Plan A is still “The Plan”
When God first walked with Adam and Eve in the paradise on earth he created, Earth was Heaven’s backyard. [“Heaven”, by Alcorn, Randy] The New Earth will be even more than that— it will be Heaven itself. ”. Isaiah 65:17 and 2 Peter 3:13 tell us that a new heaven and earth will be created. God will live with believers on the New Earth – those who have accepted Jesus. Revelation 21:3 states, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them” In a way, just as Jesus left Heaven to become man and live among us, now God will come and live among us.
Preparing for our Inheritance
Since the foundation of the world in Genesis, God has reserved a spot in His Kingdom for believers by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus Christ reminds us of this in Matthew 25:34, “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Randy Alcorn, in the book “Heaven” adds:
It’s as if he’s saying, “This is what I wanted for you all along. This is what I went to the cross and defeated death to give you. Take it, rule it, exercise dominion, enjoy it; and in doing so, share my happiness.” God doesn’t throw away his handiwork and start from scratch— instead, he uses the same canvas to repair and make more beautiful the painting marred by the vandal. The vandal does not get the satisfaction of destroying his rival’s masterpiece. On the contrary, God makes an even greater masterpiece out of what his enemy sought to destroy. [“Heaven”, by Alcorn, Randy]
Paul Marshall a Christian author and professor concludes, “This world is our home: we are made to live here. It has been devastated by sin, but God plans to put it right. Hence, we look forward with joy to newly restored bodies and to living in a newly restored heaven and earth. We can love this world because it is God’s, and it will be healed, becoming at last what God intended from the beginning.”
Borrowing from statements in Randy Alcorn’s book “Heaven”: From the beginning, I want to make it clear that it’s vitally important that this posting be true to Scripture. I believe that most of my conclusions will stand up to biblical scrutiny. Inevitably, however, some may not. Thus as the apostle Paul says, “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5: 21). Knowing that my intention is to never mislead you, it is still up to you to test by God’s Word what I say. Hold on to the good, and reject the bad.
At the same time, leave me feedback/comments, I could have transcribed my notes or cited a source incorrectly since I had to review multiple articles, books and the Bible to arrive at the condensed words on these posts.
A. When you have planned something important for Christ, has everything always gone as planned?
B. What kind of Plan B, C…did you use and did it ever evolve back to your Plan A?
A. How does it make you feel, think or act to know that God has a mansion set aside for you?
B. Do you have any friends or family that you are not sure if they are Christians? What have you done or exhibited that would help their decision to accept Christ in their life and avoid Hell?
A. Prior to this study of Heaven, I did not know half of the facts that I have. Has this study challenged or expanded your knowledge of the Biblical view of Heaven.
B. Are there any topics about Heaven you would like me to post? I have some FAQs I have collected if there is sufficient interest, I can post them.